About Face, Collaboraction, Hypocrites to mount Woyzeck Project
Georg Büchner's fragmentary, unfinished Woyzeck has served as inspiration for artists from Naomi Iizuka to Tom Waits to Greg Allen. Next spring, Chicago theater will acknowledge the seminal anti-war play's influence in what's being dubbed The Woyzeck Project, described as a city-wide festival of "hybrid works inspired by the classic anti-war play," to include plays, visual art and film. The festival's anchors are full-length plays by About Face Theatre, Collaboraction and The Hypocrites, all presented at the Chopin Theatre. Collaboraction will remount its hit 2005 production of Guinea Pig Solo, with Dale Rivera and Sandra Delgado reprising their roles in Brett C. Leonard's Iraq-war update of Büchner's traumatized soldier. About Face offers the world premiere of Sally Oswald's Pony, which brings gender-role issues into the mix with a transgendered protagonist, while the Hypocrites' Sean Graney will direct his own Woyzeck adaptation. Guinea Pig Solo will run March 21–April 17; exact dates for the other two plays and additional programming for the spring 2011 fest will be announced. More on the rest of these three companies' seasons after the jump.
Speaking of Greg Allen, the Hypocrites' season opens in October with a revised version of K., the founding Neo-Futurist's award-winning 1995 adaptation of Kafka's The Trial. That's followed by Graney directing Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance with musical direction by Kevin O'Donnell. By our count, Penzance is the Hypocrites' third musical (after 2008's The Threepenny Opera and this season's Cabaret); since we all know three makes a trend, I'll go ahead and say I'm looking forward to Graney's gleeful punk deconstruction of The Music Man in 2012. Both shows are at the Chopin.
Also spending its full season at the Chopin, as announced last month, Collaboraction kicks off September 13 with the long-overdue Chicago premiere of Jason Grote's 1,001, a contemporary remix of the Arabian nights that opens with Scheherazade in Times Square; Seth Bockley directs. The company's season is rounded out by the 11th annual Sketchbook.
About Face's season, announced earlier today, opens with its second annual XYZ Festival of new work, headlined by Patricia Kane's Float, about small-town Midwestern women facing up to issues of religion, sexuality and identity as they build the holiday parade float. Leslie Danzig directs at Theater Wit. The XYZ fest also includes workshops of plays by Carson Kreitzer, the suddenly-everywhere Tanya Saracho, and Patrick Andrews and Jesse Young; readings of new works by Jordan Seavey, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, David Myers and TOC contributor Caitlin Montanye Parrish and Erica Weiss; and a pair of "performance lounges" highlighting new forms. Next summer, About Face's season concludes at Victory Gardens' Richard Christiansen Studio Theater with Philip Dawkins's new play The Homosexuals, offering a Chicago-set, contemporary portrait of friendships among gay men that sounds like a new-generation take on The Boys in the Band; Andrews will star.